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San Sebastian 2005
Terry Gilliam's "Tideland":
Tideland is not a film for all audiences. From its very first sequence, in where Jeliza Rose (an extraordinary performance by Jodelle Ferland) prepares a heroin shot for her father (Jeff Bridges) as if she was cooking his favourite dish, the film puts its cards on the table with an incorruptible honesty. We are inside the head of a girl who has not been infected by social rules and, therefore, she is not able to tell the difference between good and evil. This is precisely the reason why her solitary trip to the other side of the mirror, dressed as an Alice who has been forced to watch transgression, deformity and insanity as the main features of a life soaked in fatality, has the looks of an inevitable nightmare. Once and for all an orphan, Jeliza Rose has to invent an alternative reality for surviving in the despairs of a wheat field and a mansion of flaking walls, with the occasional company of a retarded boy and his sister, and a glass-eyed bitch who enjoys taxidermy as a hobby.
From then on, Tideland imposes on us the subjectivity of a poetic and crazy glance where the sordid lives together with the lyrical: the glow-worms of a summer's night share the space with stuffed corpses, the worrying heads of three Barbie dolls communicate between themselves with the marble-sculpted innocence of an abandoned girl and necrophilia and paedophilia show their noses up into an universe where light and darkness seem to have the same meaning.
The entire film continues in this
vein for this timeless Alice 's madness, represented by all these visual
baroques that are so typical of Gilliam, and in the end they become
an antidote to indifference. You must be with him or against him: better
said, either you integrate in the world that Tideland suggests
or you remain completely outside from it. There is no half-way mark.
When reality invades us, when catastrophe attacks us with its night shining,
when a train accident returns us to life, perhaps it would be too late
to confront it. Like Brazil’s Sam Lowry, Jeliza Rose
has crossed the line of danger and has gone the furthest she could in
her delusion. It is almost the same as Terry Gilliam has done with Tideland,
for his pursuit of a Quixotic dream, come hell or high water. Fighting
against windmills is, after all, the same as fighting against the prejudices
that trap creative freedom.
San Sebastian '05